Words are more than just symbols on a page that provide information. They communicate thoughts and ideas. They speak to the human psyche. They evoke emotions. But they don’t do any of these things very well if they aren’t chosen carefully. Before you try out any other subscription website copywriting tips, it’s a good idea to start with thinking critically about copy word choice.
Why it matters
Advertising legend Shirley Polykoff once said, “Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.”
Now you might ask yourself, doesn’t a discussion require two or more people? Of course, the answer is yes. So how does copy function as a conversation?
The answer is at the root of all website copywriting tips (and marketing in general): Think the way your audience is thinking and base your strategy (and your words) on that.
The secret lies in subtleties
It sounds simple, but it’s anything but. That’s because a lot of the word choices we’re talking about are subtle and not necessarily things we would intrinsically think might affect conversion rates.
For example, a UK debit supplier called GoCardless tested two different phrasings for a CTA on their landing page. The first read, “Request a demo” and the second read “Watch a demo.” Just changing the word “request” to the word “watch,” saw demo conversions increase by 139%.
The theory is that the word “request” conjures images and feelings of forms and confirmation e-mails and the like, whereas “watch” suggests a more immediate, less committed experience. Such a simple solution, but one that takes many marketers a while to reach.
Hook ’em early
Another reason word choice is so important right from the start is that human attention span is only 6-8 seconds. That attention span is renewable, but only if you’ve captured someone’s interest.
Your headline, then, is where word choice matters most. David Ogilvy knew this well when he said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you’ve wasted 90% of your money.”
If you don’t get someone’s attention immediately, your entire landing page fails to reach its potential.
Power words and phrases
So what are some website copywriting tips that will help to get someone’s attention? The first is that your landing page copy needs key power words and phrases. These words create urgency and/or appeal to the consumer’s desire. After all, who doesn’t want a free gift, offered for only a limited time that’s not sold in stores?
The magic behind these words and phrases is that they speak to human emotion, which is one of the driving forces behind our spending decisions. When the average person hears “free gift,” he or she doesn’t stop to think, “Yes, but do I really want the gift?” They think, “Oh, I like free things!” And just like that, you have their attention.
Create anxiety, provide relief
Emotional response is so pivotal in marketing that some subscription website copywriting tips suggest a model of creating anxiety and then providing relief.
For example, if you’re selling a subscription to a health magazine, your headline might read something like, “If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably not getting enough exercise.” This causes subconscious uneasiness in the consumer. The phrase “not getting enough” immediately commands attention because it suggests a lack and nobody wants to lack anything.
After continuing to build anxiety through another subhead or two, you then provide the relief. “Lucky for you, our magazine is the monthly solution to all your exercise needs!”
Here, the relief phrase uses the word “solution,” which very firmly indicates that the product or service will absolutely provide the thing the consumer lacks.
Less we, more you
The last of these subscription website copywriting tips addresses the subject of the copy. It’s tempting to promote your product features. If you were not a magazine and were instead a weight loss pill, you might say something like, “Our weight-loss program has been around for 20 years, and has helped millions of people shed pounds in just a few weeks!” But you’re better off showcasing how your magazine or subscription product will benefit the consumer. Going back to the diet pill example, this alteration would be: “Our weight loss program is tailored specifically for you based on your target weight, your current diet, and your current exercise regimen.”
We love this line from Yankee that paints a picture for potential subscribers:
There are thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, movies, and radio stations out there, all demanding your attention; so many choices for your leisure time. But when you read Yankee, I promise you, you’ll relish every word, every beautiful photo, every moment you spend engrossed in its stories about places you’ll plan to visit, people you’ll want to get to know, dishes you’ll be dying to cook, adventures you’ll yearn to experience.
The “you” connects the product with the consumer, which adds another element of that conversational piece Polykoff was talking about. If people don’t feel as though a product speaks specifically to them, it matters less how much it may have benefitted other people.
The root of conversion
Thoughtful and intentional word choice doesn’t alone guarantee increased conversion rates. You still need to push the right buttons on the right consumers and be able to deliver on your promise. However, word choice is certainly one of the roots of increased conversion rates. Just as you would be selective about your words when interviewing for a job, applying for a loan, or even discussing something with a family member, so also should you be selective when writing copy that you want to reach—and convince—your target audience.
Do you have any examples of successful landing pages, and any copy you’ve tested?